Passengers were flown to Houston on a Delta charter, which was hired by Carnival Cruise Lines. The airline made 11 trips from New Orleans, and landed in a special area at Bush Airport.
Because the flight was a charter, they were able to skip the normal TSA checkpoint. Some of the passengers landed in Houston long enough to catch a connecting fight to other cities.
I talked to one Houston couple who had booked the cruise to mark their wedding anniversary.
"We were not expecting that, but it was the cruise from Hell, definitely yes. Horrible, horrible experience, I'm just glad to be home."
Jessica Paquinto says it was supposed to be a 4 day cruise.
"We were on deck 6. It smelled really bad; it was dirty. We had an inside cabin, so it was worse for us. Dark, pitch dark, at night it was scary. During the day, our neighbor across had a balcony, so they were able to open up their door, and we slept with the doors open. Some people slept outside because it was way too hot out there inside in the cabin. It was just — it was hell."
Her husband Jay says he too, was glad to be back on solid ground, but was critical about the cruise line's handling of the ordeal.
"The worst part for me is that, the fact that Carnival kind of like neglected us. It took way too long for them to get us out of there. And another thing is that ship wasn't even supposed to be on a cruise, because from what I heard from the crew members, it had been decommissioned for repair. And a week before our cruise, they barely made it back to Galveston on one engine, and they still kept running."
An engine room fire disabled the 14-story vessel last Sunday. That led to the vacation nightmare for the Paquintos and the 42 hundred passengers and crew on the Carnival Triumph.